Belfast Telegraph

Brexit: Irish foreign minister Coveney rejects 'dangerous' proposal on deferring Irish backstop plan

Simon Coveney
Simon Coveney

Ireland's foreign minister has rejected any suggestion considerations were being given to deferring the Irish backstop issue.

He was responding to the Republic's Labour Leader Brendan Howlin who described as "very dangerous" suggestions from Europe that the Irish backstop issue should be postponed or deferred.

"It is something that we have to resist. But it was predictable," he said.

Mr Howlin described the idea of a time-limited backstop as "bizarre" and any solution had to be permanent until a better arrangement was found.

"There has to be a clear determination set out by the Irish Government on the backstop issue," he added.

However, Simon Coveney questioned the source of Mr Howlin's claims.

He said: "There is no sense from any conversations I’ve had with EU foreign ministers, that anybody is questioning or undermining the EU position on the Irish backstop, quite the opposite in fact."

 "I’m not sure what sources Brendan Howlin is getting his information from, but I suspect they are not as credible as the assurances we’re getting from the chief negotiator today."

He said more time was needed on the withdrawal agreement and it was unlikely a deal would be agreed by Wednesday's summit. Instead he said an update would be provided.

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